Oscan Sentence Examples
In the 3rd century we find it issuing coins with an Oscan legend, but in 211 B.C. it shared the fate of Capua.
Like Umbrian also, but unlike Latin and Oscan, it has degraded all the diphthongs into simple vowels (Volscian se parallel to Oscan svai; Volscian deue, Old Latin and Oscan deivai or deiuoi).
We have now to notice (3) the points in which Umbrian has diverged from Oscan.
It would follow, on the other hand, that what is called Oscan represented the language of the invading Sabines (more correctly Safines), whose racial affinities would seem to be of a distinctly more northern cast, and to mark them, like the Dorians or Achaeans in Greece, as an early wave of the invaders who more than once in later history havevitally influenced the fortunes of the tempting southern land into which they forced their way.
Mommsen (Unteritalische Dialekten, p. 345) pointed out that in the social war all the coins of Pompaedius Silo have the Latin legend "Italia," while the other leaders in all but one case used Oscan.Advertisement
At this time they were speaking Oscan as well as Greek, and two of three Oscan inscriptions in Greek alphabet still testify to the language spoken in the town in the 3rd century B.C. We know, however, that the Bruttians, though at this date speaking the same language (Oscan) as the Samnite tribe of the Lucani, were not actually akin to them.
The more conspicuous buildings are the ancient Gothic cathedral (restored in 1866, and again in 1870 after the interior was destroyed by fire), with its lofty tower, the cavalry barracks, the ex-convent of the Capuchins at a little distance from the city, and the seminary in which are preserved the famous Oscan inscription known as the Cippus Abellanus (from Abella, the modern Avella, q.v.) and some Latin inscriptions relating to a treaty with Nola regarding a joint temple of Hercules.
Whatever punishment Sulla may have inflicted, Nola, though it lost much of its importance, remained a municipium with its own institutions and the use of the Oscan language.
Like Ennius he probably belonged to an Oscan stock, and was born at Brundusium, which had become a Roman colony in 244.
Its history in the Samnite period is unknown; but the coins of Fistelia (or Fistlus in Oscan) probably belong to Puteoli, as Mommsen thought.Advertisement
Apparently the same unit is found (18) at Heraclea in Lucania, 21.86; and, as the general foot of the South Italians, or Oscan foot (18), best defined by the 100 feet square being (3/10)ths of the jugerum, and therefore = 10.80 or half of 21.60.
Remains of fine villas have been found about half a mile to the east of the modern town, and also the remains of a temple to the genius of Stabiae, which no doubt occupied the same site as it had done in Oscan times.
Was it most nearly akin to Latin or to Oscan or again to Umbrian and Volscian?
It was of a mixed character; both Oscan and Greek inscriptions are still found up to the last, and, though there is no trace whatever of Christianity, evidences of the presence of Jews are not lacking - such are a wall-painting, probably representing the Judgment of Solomon, and a scratched inscription on a wall, "Sodoma, Gomora."
The most interesting of these are such as are written in the Oscan dialect, which appears to have continued in official use down to the time when the Roman colony was introduced by Sulla.Advertisement
From that time the Latin language was certainly the only one officially employed, though Oscan may have still been spoken by a portion at least of the population.
On the other hand, the good condition of many of the painted Oscan inscriptions at the times when they were first uncovered (1797 onwards) and their subsequent decay and the number of Oscan graffiti appear to make it probable that at the Christian era Oscan was still spoken in the town.
The two languages undoubtedly existed side by side during the last century B.C., Latin being alone recognized officially and in society, while Oscan was preserved mainly by intercourse with the country folk who frequented the market.
Thus beside many Latin programmata later than those just mentioned we have similar inscriptions in Oscan, addressed to Oscan-speaking voters, where Illlner.
Paelignian and this group of inscriptions generally form a most important link in the chain of the Italic dialects, as without them the transition from Oscan to Umbrian would be completely lost.Advertisement
Much more important than the scanty remains of Faliscan is the Oscan alphabet.
That it took over the whole Chalcidian alphabet is rendered probable by the survival in Umbrian and Oscan, its daughter alphabets, of forms which are not found in Etruscan itself.
Oscan, in order to represent D, introduced later a form SJ, thus creating confusion between the symbols for d and for r.
Similarly it used 4 and z for the Chalcidian Umbrian borrowed the first, Oscan the second form.
The form for m has five strokes; from a later form HA the Oscan form was borrowed.Advertisement
Q is found on Etruscan inscriptions, but not in the alphabet series preserved; neither Umbrian nor Oscan has this form.
T appears in Etruscan as y, 7 t, and X; of these Umbrian borrows the first two, while Oscan has a form T like Latin.
Both Umbrian and Oscan devised two new symbols.
In other languages, like Oscan and Umbrian which are closely akin to Latin, or the Welsh branch of the Celtic languages, p occurs regularly without regard to the nature of the vowel following.
Thus, corresponding to the Latin quattuor, we find the Oscan petora, the Gaulish petor-ritum, " four-wheeler," the Welsh pedwar, " four," &c., while the Irish cethir, " four," corresponds more closely to the Latin.
An important Oscan inscription relates to a treaty with Nola, regarding a joint temple of Hercules, attributable to the 2nd century B.C. Under the early empire it had already become a colony and had perhaps been one since the time of Sulla.
Greek and Oscan tombs have also been found.
Save for the consequences of these phonetic changes, Umbrian morphology and syntax exhibit no divergence from Oscan that need be mentioned here, save perhaps two peculiar perfect-formations with -1- and -nci-; as in ampelust, fut.
How far also the language or languages spoken in Bruttium and at certain points of Lucania, such as Anxia, differed from the Oscan of Samnium and Campania there is not enough evidence to show (see BRUTTII).
We know something of the language of the Marrucini from an inscription known as the "Bronze of Rapino," which belongs to about the middle of the 3rd century B.C. It is written in Latin alphabet, but in a dialect which belongs to the North Oscan group (see Paeligni).
The conclusion, therefore, to which the evidence appears to lead us is that in, say, the 7th century, B.C., the Safines spoke a language not differing in any important particulars from that of the Samnites, generally known as Oscan; and that when this warlike tribe combined with the people of the Latian plain to found or fortify or enlarge the city of Rome, and at the end of the 6th century to drive out from it the Etruscans, who had in that century become its masters, they imposed upon the new community many of their own usages, especially within the sphere of politics, but in the end adopted the language of Latium henceforth known as lingua Latina, just as the Normans adopted the language of the conquered English.